Oxford English Dictionary unveils 500 new words … and new uses for existing ones

From sexting to Voluntourism, the new additions to our word bible show how much our language has changed in more than 100 years.

Homer Simpson
D’oh! 500 new words have been added to Oxford English Dictionary

Are you one of life’s twitterati or just a hot mess? Or maybe you’re a freegan with some serious FOMO?

They are among 500 words being added today to the Oxford English Dictionary. First published in 1911, it was compiled by brothers Henry and George Fowler.

A century on, it is one of the largest language research projects in the world – and the ultimate guide to the ever-changing English language. Here are some of our favourite new additions:

Voluntourism What people do when they help out at an African orphanage, save elephants and do something “amazing” for charity, when really they just need an excuse to go on another holiday.

Meh After being subjected to endless pictures on Facebook posted by the above voluntourist, this is how you’ll probably feel. Used to signal lack of enthusiasm. Made popular in the Simpsons .

FOMO Fear of missing out – triggered perhaps by seeing the voluntourist’s snaps.

Lipstick Not something you hastily apply in a taxi but now slang for the treble 20 on a dartboard.

Freegan Someone who eats thrown away food as they hate waste.

Ecotown Probably full of freegans. New towns designed to have minimum impact on environment.

E-cigarette Cig-shaped battery powered device containing nicotine.

Fo’ shizzle “For sure” is obviously just too dull for rappers like Snoop Dogg so they had to bling it up.

Fratty American term for rowdy college fraternities.

Twitterati People on Twitter with more followers than you’ve had hot dinners who bung up your Twitter feed with constant tweeting.

Webisode Short video of a TV programme shown online.

Hyperlocal Really, really local.

Comix Alternative adult comic books and comic strips.

Crowdfund To fund a project from lots of people who usually donate small sums online.

Cake pop Small, round piece of cake coated in icing, chocolate or other decorations and fixed on a stick to make it look like a lollipop.

Woman in lingerie looking at a phone
Sext: Where people text sexually explicit material – surprisingly this word has only just made it into the dictionary.

Go-juice What you might call your morning cup of coffee to give you energy or fuel for cars and planes.

Pageview Where someone visits a particular page on a website.

Uncanny valley When things that look human, such as the Michael Jackson hologram at the Billboard Music Awards, freak us out.

SCOTUS Acronym of The Supreme Court of the United States.

Backronym Similar to an acronym, but where the words have been deliberately chosen to fit initials.

Bluff charge When a large animal moves towards prey then suddenly stops without attacking.

Bush tucker Animals or plants , usually uncooked, eaten by native Australians. In ITV’s I’m A Celebrity.

Double-dip recession A recession followed by a brief period of growth before another period of decline.

Multi-starrer Film with ensemble cast featuring lots of A-listers.

Skort Shorts with a flap of material to make them appear a skirt.

Uber Added to a word to describe it as outstanding. Become associated with the ride-sharing taxi app. Used as a noun and verb.

Yarn bomb Street art where objects are covered in colourful knitted yarn.

Doug Moody / Evening Gazette Yarn Bomb Day
That’s wool: Yarn bomb art

Jeggings Designed to look like jeans but have stretch in them like leggings. Unlikely to cut off circulation like skinny jeans.

Tenderprenuer South African term for person in government who abuses power to get government contracts.

Photobomb The term, which means to insert yourself into someone else’s photo, has only just bombed its way into the OED.

Auto-tune Device used to correct out-of-tune vocal performance.

Coasteering Adventure sport involving scrambling rocks, jumping off cliffs and swimming in the sea.

Stagette Canadian hen do.

Drumble To be lazy, sluggish or mumble when speaking.

Hard arse Someone who rigorously instills a specific set of standards.

Stanky Used mainly in America to describe someone or something smelling unpleasant.

Buko Slang for “much”. I’ve earned buko cash this week.

Diabulimia A disturbing new eating disorder in which people with Type 1 diabetes deliberately give themselves less insulin than they need, to help weight loss.

The Enviropig A genetically altered pig, or “Frankenswine,” as critics call it, that is better at digesting phosphorus in plants.

Handsy The term to describe someone who’s frisky and can’t keep their hands to themselves.

Hyphy Pronounced hi-fi, it’s a term for uptempo hip-hop music originating in California and associated with a frenetic dancing.

Koozie That thermal foam sleeve-thing you put round a can or a bottle to keep it cool, but never know what to call? Well, it’s called a koozie – although quite why, is unclear.

On-trend Very fashionable, i.e. “that coat is so on-trend”.

Sh*tshow The not very pleasant term used to describe an event or situation that is chaotic or controversial.

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